Is It a Sin Not to Vote?
By Tim Wildmon
President, American Family Association
October 18, 2004
(AgapePress) - Are you morally obligated to exercise your right to vote? That is, is it a sin not to do so? Of course, I am posing this question to those of you who actually believe in the Christian concept of sin in the first place. Sin, as defined in the Bible, is disobeying God's commandments. Interesting question, isn't it?
On November 2, we Americans will once again go to the polls to decide who will lead us in government. We will elect men and women to local, state and national offices who will make decisions for us and our families. They will pass laws we will have to abide by. They will make choices that will set the tone for our community and our nation. They will decide what is good and what is bad public policy.
In short, those we elect will begin to impose their collective morality on us. Despite what you have been told, this is why we have government–to promote good and to restrain evil. But it is how we as a society define "good" and "evil" that makes all the difference in the world.
Ever wonder why we have give citizens tax deductions for financial contributions to churches and charities? Why? Because charities and churches do "good" work that benefit individual citizens and the greater community and the government wants to encourage that.
Ever wonder why we make citizens pay fines when they are ticketed for breaking the speed limit? Why? Because we understand that speed kills–which is "bad"–because Americans value human life. So when someone speeds he or she is putting lives at risk and therefore the government wants to discourage that behavior. So we have jails and we have fines to deter such activity.
The two previous paragraphs describe in simple terms that governments do promote morality. And "we the people" decide who will make the moral judgements for us.
Now, obviously, most of the day to day work of government is mundane. Routine. Without great moral consequences. The Bible does not speak to the need to fill a pot hole for instance. Well, on second thought, maybe it does. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, says the Scripture. If the pot hole were on my street, I would want the government to fix it. Anyway, you get the point.
I am one that believes God formed the United States of America for His purposes. I believe in a providential view of history. And if you study the life of our country, it is clear that God has used certain people for certain task to help our country become a great nation. A great nation that has--for the most part--championed good. We have championed causes that have been consistent with a Biblical world view. Freedom. Liberty. Fighting oppression and against those who wish to dominate those who are weaker than they through military force or terrorism. And if you had take one man who best represents God's hand on America over our 227 year history, to me, it would have to be George Washington.
Washington -- what an incredible life this man lived!
As we look to November 2–let me remind you of what the Father of our nation said in his famous Farewell Address on September 17, 1796. Washington had served two terms and did not wish to serve a third although he could have been President as long as wished because of his immense popularity. Here is a small, but poignant, part of that address to the country.
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
Is it a sin not to vote? James 4:17 says, "Anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
On November 2, go vote your morality.
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